Crispy, crunchy chicken tostadas are not only fun to make, but a zesty and utterly delicious treat to enjoy as well. My mouthwatering, mildly spicy recipe features smoky chicken over top of creamy smashed white beans, plus an irresistible topping of mildly spicy homemade charred tomatillo salsa for a flavorful and slightly unique twist!
A Crisp and Zesty South-of-the-Border Treat
When the weekend comes, and my hubs and I get a craving for some zippy Mexican food, we'll often whip up some of my homemade chicken or beef nachos and load 'em up with all sorts of delicious toppings including classic refried beans and some spicy salsa drizzled over top.
We adore the nacho crunchiness and that l'il “kick” to go along with our icy margaritas!
But when we're feeling a bit more gourmet, we'll change things up and go with these homemade chicken tostadas, prepared with my charred tomatillo salsa and garlicky, creamy, smashed white beans.
These tasty tostadas hit all the right flavor notes with a generous sprinkle of delicious spices plus the savory-tangy flavor of the homemade tomatillo salsa, and the freshly-fried, crunchy tostada shells.
In full disclosure, one chicken tostada just never seems to be enough!
My Chicken Tostadas Recipe with Charred Tomatillo Salsa
Because I'm really going for maximum flavor and freshness with these chicken tostadas, I'm preparing a number of the components from scratch.
But here's the thing: if you're pressed for time, you can always swap out a couple of the components for good quality store-bought versions, and streamline things a bit for yourself.
And because it takes mere minutes to fry up a batch of corn tortillas in shallow oil, I like to prep homemade tostada shells as the base for these chicken tostadas, which makes 'em extra crisp, crunchy, and very fresh tasting.
But this step can be skipped, and you can opt for a quality brand of tostada shells to keep things a bit quicker and easier.
You could also use store bought salsa verde and classic refried beans for this recipe, yet this homemade version of tomatillo salsa and creamy white beans really takes these chicken tostadas over the top with flavor and texture.
And if you end up with a little leftover charred tomatillo salsa? It's terrific drizzled over morning eggs, or steak, or as a dip for chips!
Here's a glance at my chicken tostadas recipe with charred tomatillo salsa: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my homemade tomatillo salsa by roasting my veggies until slightly charred, then processing them in my food processor until smooth and salsa-like. I then set the mixture aside.
- While my veggies char, I prep my smashed white beans by cooking them with some seasonings and spices for a few minutes until tender and soft, then mash them until smooth and creamy in texture, and keep those warm.
- Next, I season my chicken breasts and quickly sear or grill them for a few minutes per side in a hot pan until cooked through, then dice those small and keep them warm.
- Finally, I shallow fry my corn tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side, just until crisp, and place them on a wire rack to drain for a few minutes.
- To assemble my chicken tostadas, I layer on the toppings beginning with a base of creamy white beans, next my smoky chicken, and finally my charred tomatillo salsa, plus fresh cilantro, Cotija cheese, and any other toppings that sound tasty!
by Ingrid Beer
These zesty chicken tostadas are prepared with a homemade, charred tomatillo salsa, smashed, creamy white beans, plus smoky chicken!
Yield: 8 tostadas
Nutrition Info: 874 calories (for 2 chicken tostadas)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Chicken Tostada Ingredients:
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half length-wise to make 4 thinner cutlets
- Drizzle of avocado or olive oil
- Black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 8 small corn tortillas (or 8 store-bought tostada shells, if not making homemade)
- Avocado, peanut, or vegetable oil, for shallow frying
- Cotija cheese, optional garnish
- Cilantro leaves, optional garnish
- Lime wedges, optional garnish
Charred Tomatillo Salsa Ingredients (makes about 1 ¼ cups):
- 12 medium tomatillos, husks removed and washed, then quartered
- 2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons agave (or honey)
- 4-5 tablespoons water
Smashed White Beans Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
- Black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup chicken stock
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your charred tomatillo salsa ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat your oven to 450°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
- To prepare your charred tomatillo salsa, toss together the quartered tomatillos with the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the pinches of salt and pepper, turn out onto your prepared baking sheet, and char the vegetables for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 400°, and continue to char for 15 minutes more.
- While the veggies are roasting, gather and prep all of your smashed white beans ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare your smashed white beans, place a skillet over medium-high heat, and add in the oil, along with the garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes. Once aromatic, add in the beans along with a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, the cumin, the chicken stock and lime juice, and simmer for 5 minutes just until slightly thickened.
- Using a masher, smash the beans until fairly smooth/creamy, add in the cilantro, and set aside, keeping warm.
- Once the veggies are charred, remove them from oven and allow them to just slightly cool. Then, scrape all of the veggies plus their juices into a food processor along with the cilantro, agave and water, plus a couple more pinches of salt, and process until smooth. Set aside.
- Next, gather and prep all of your main tostada ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Season your chicken breasts with oil, salt, pepper and chili powder, and either grill or sear in pan for a few minutes per side, until cooked through. Dice the chicken and set aside keeping it warm, or keep in fridge until ready to serve.
- If frying your own homemade tostada shells, heat enough oil in a shallow skillet to be able to submerge your tortillas. Once the oil is hot, add one corn tortilla at a time to the oil, holding it down with your tongs just until “set”, then flip to crisp the other side for 30 seconds or so. Flip the tostada back over to the first side just until golden, about 30 seconds more. Remove and drain on wire rack.
- To assemble the tostadas, layer on some of the smashed white beans, next some of the diced chicken, followed by some of the charred tomatillo salsa. Finish with a sprinkle of Cotija cheese, some cilantro, and perhaps a squeeze of lime, or any other toppings/garnishes you'd like.
Tips & Tidbits for my Chicken Tostadas:
- Make components ahead for ease: Since there are several elements to the recipe, you can streamline things a bit by preparing the charred tomatillo salsa and the smashed white beans, as well as grilling up and dicing the chicken breasts, a day or two ahead of time. Then, simply re-heat, and give your corn tortillas a super quick fry for fresh tostada bases the day you plan to serve.
- Don't be afraid to truly char your salsa veggies: When I prepared my tomatillo salsa, I cranked up the heat and left the veggies in the oven for 35 minutes to create a nice char. This tastes delicious when pureed in the processor with the remaining ingredients.
- Homemade is BEST, but go the store-bought route to save time: The flavors in the homemade charred tomatillo salsa are absolutely delicious, but in a pinch, feel free to purchase good quality salsa verde at the market as well as pre-packaged corn tostada bases. You can even dice up rotisserie chicken and sprinkle over some chili powder as well.
- How to re-crisp your tostada bottoms: While best freshly fried, tostada bottoms can easily be brought back to a crispy state by gently and quickly reheating in the toaster oven for about 20 seconds and they'll be good as new!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2017, and has been updated with even more love!